Nurse-initiated analgesia pathway for paediatric patients in the emergency department: A clinical intervention trial

Authors


  • Simone E Taylor, BPharm, PharmD, Grad Cert Clin Res Methods, Senior Pharmacist; David McD Taylor, MD, MPH, DRCOG, FACEM, Director; Kathy Jao, BMedSci, MD, Intern; Shyan Goh, BPharm, Intern Pharmacist; Meagan Ward, BHlthS, MDietetics, Research Assistant.

Correspondence: Dr Simone E Taylor, Department of Pharmacy, Austin Health, Studley Road, Heidelberg, Vic. 3084, Australia. Email: simone.taylor@austin.org.au

Abstract

Objective

The study aims to evaluate the impact of a nurse-initiated analgesia pathway (NIAP) intervention for paediatric patients in the ED.

Methods

We undertook a pre- and post-intervention trial in a large, tertiary referral, mixed ED. The intervention comprised development and implementation of a comprehensive NIA Standing Order. In addition to paracetamol, which nurses could initiate pre-intervention, they were authorised to administer ibuprofen, paracetamol/codeine combinations and topical local anaesthetics prior to a doctor assessing the patient. All nurses were trained and credentialed prior to administering the NIAP. Patients aged 5–17 years with a triage pain score of ≥4 (Wong–Baker or numerical rating scale) were eligible for enrolment. The primary outcome was time to analgesia. Secondary outcomes were the proportion of patients who received ‘adequate analgesia’ and parental satisfaction with ED pain management (measured 48 h post-discharge).

Results

Fifty-one children were enrolled in both the pre- and post-intervention periods. Patient sex and mean age, weight and triage pain score did not differ between the groups (P > 0.05). At post-intervention, significantly more patients received nurse-initiated analgesia (3.0% vs 43.9%; P < 0.001) and the median time to analgesia was significantly reduced (58 min vs 23 min; P < 0.01). Also, significantly more patients received ‘adequate analgesia’ post-intervention (41.2% vs 72.5%; P < 0.001). At follow up, the proportion of parents who were very satisfied with their child's overall pain management trended upwards in the post-intervention period (47.1% vs 66.7%; P = 0.07). No adverse events were observed during either period.

Conclusion

The NIAP significantly reduced time to analgesia. It was associated with high levels of parental satisfaction.

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